Here at Refinery29, we've been taking a moment to celebrate Paul Rudd. To bring our Rudd appreciation to the next level, we'd like to draw your attention to his stage work. Forget music, Rudd is our food of love. Long before Rudd was Ant-Man, he played the lovelorn Duke Orsino in a 1998 Lincoln Center Theatre production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, a role which required him to ditch his shirt, don long hair, and strap into a very tight, very revealing purple g-string-like garment. Luckily, this getup has been preserved in GIF format, thanks to a Tumblr user.
The Nicholas Hytner-directed production, which was broadcast on PBS, also starred Helen Hunt as Viola, who is in love with Orsino but posing as a man, and Kyra Sedgwick as Olivia, who is pursued by Orsino but falls in love the disguised Viola. The set also featured a pool. Rudd's performance in the Tony-nominated production received a mixed review from The New York Times. Ben Brantley wrote: "Mr. Rudd, the comely star of the film The Object of My Affection, directed by Mr. Hytner, has a good time posing as an eternally bare-chested poseur. But it's a one-note, if exuberantly realized, performance that doesn't let Orsino grow from false love into the real thing." But let's not harp on the negative. Let's just remember that once upon a time in Illyria, this happened.